tv Sanjay Gupta MD CNN January 27, 2013 4:30am-5:00am PST
>> reporter: why do you like snowboarding? you go too fast too quickly and fall over. >> not necessarily. >> reporter: perhaps the best lesson to be learned in managing risk comes from the cross country skier. those hardy experts of slow, steady progress taking huge amounts of energy. >> you need to be fit with the whole body, not only parts of your body. >> you make the power around. you can slowly over time. >> reporter: as the map of the mountain shows, everything is interconnected. richard quest, cnn, davos. >> as we said, as only richard quest could. time to roll out the red carpet, once again. this time for the 19th annual
screen actor guild awards. it will hair on tnt and tbs tonight. actors in both film and television. "argo" is considered a frontrunner because it did so well at the golden globes. more stories at the top of the hour when "cnn sunday morning" continues. "sanjay gupta md" begins right now. >> hey there, thanks for being with us. i want to get to something very important today. our big story. it's about chemicals known as flame retardants. they're ubiquitous, in everything from furniture to baby products, but they're also linked to health problems. from neurological issues in children to even cancer. it may seem like a tradeoff. fire safety versus other health risks, but it's not as complicated as you might think. >> i care about flame retardants.
>> terrifying pictures, and a call for public safety. >> flame retardants have been proven to increase the time that people have to get out of a fire. >> this ad comes from the citizens for fire safety, according to their facebook page, a coalition of fire professionals, educators, community activists, burn centers, doctors, fire departments, and industry leaders. a key part of the message of this doctor told lawmakers safety depends on flame retardant chemicals. >> we're talking about children's safe products. the safest children's product i know is one that doesn't catch on fire. and one that doesn't burn the child. >> in april of last year, he called in his testimony to the alaska legislature. >> there is no question in my mind that fire retardants do give people more time to escape fires. >> thanks in part to efforts like this, flame retardants are
now found in baby strollers, car seats, building insulation, electronics, even your couch, but it comes with a price. dozens of studies connect one group of flame retardant compounds known as pbdes to thyroidproblems, reproductive issues, lowered iqs in children. some restrictions on imports are in place, but products with pbdes can be and still are imported. and the environmental protection agency is investigating three additional flame retardants after finding evidence they could be neurotoxins and even hurt child development and even cause cancer. in 1976, arlene bloom founded the fire retardant chemical trip using pajamas was a carcinogen. it led to a ban in kids' pajamas. today, more than 30 years later, it's still used in sofa cushions. >> if you have 20 pounds of foam
in your couch, you have a pound of these chemicals in your couch. that's a lot. >> i think everything is a risk versus a benefit. i think the benefits of not having little children catch on fire or other poor people catch on fire, way outweigh the dangers of a case of carcinoma that has never been shown to actually happen in people. >> i could see the doctor's point. that is until i met andrew mcguire, founder of the trauma foundation, an organization devoted to injury prevention. are these chemicals, are these retardants effective? >> the way retardants are put into foam, they are not effective. >> wait, what was that again? >> the way retardants are put into foam, they are not effective. why? because foam doesn't ignite from a match or a flame or a cigarette. the fabric ignites first. when fabric ignites, the flame of the fabric and the heat produced by the fabric burning overwhelms the flame retardant so they're not effective.
>> take a look at this test from the consumer product safety commission. the cpsc. the chair on the left is full of flame retardant chemicals. the one on the right has no flame retardants. in less than a minute, the differences between the two chairs are minimal. in july of last year, the commission's chair testified before the senate. >> if fire retardant foams did not offer a practically significant greater level of open flame safety than the untreated foam. >> i'm a dad. you think you're doing the right thing by buying products that are flame retardant. you're saying that they're both ineffective and potentially harmful. >> they're ineffective. they cause toxic problems that could last generations. >> see if we can take a look and find out. >> there's a label, i bet. every couch has this label.
>> come in, notice. >> this article meets the flammability requirements of california bureau of home furnishings technical bulletin 117. care should be exercised near open flame or with burning cigarettes. >> when you read that, what does that mean to you? >> it means it's loaded with toxic flame retardant chemicals that don't prevent fires, yes. >> this is a hotel. there are thousands of people who have probably sat on this couch. >> same with your home. >> everywhere? >> everywhere. >> it's quite striking, still. we add all these chemicals to things. they don't work, they're not necessary, and they're probably toxic. >> right, but they're incredibly, incredibly profit-driven. >> globally, flame retardant chemicals are a growing business. grossing more than $4 billion a year. >> there's three companies that manufacture and sell the
chemicals, and they have various advocacy groups who talk about burns and fire. they have very big budgets. >> advocacy groups like the citizens for fire safety. remember them? not just any citizens. their tax records lay out permission to promote the business of the chemical industry. >> citizens for fire safety has blocked the fear based campaigns of special interest groups and defeated onerous legislation in every major state in the u.s. >> when california, washington state, and alaska tried to introduce legislation limiting flame retardants, citizens for fire safety had the doctor speak on their behalf. >> the child sustained an 80% burn. this is a little person the size of a teddy bear. we had to split open her fingers because they were so charred. we had to split open her arms. we took care of her with a
ventilator, with renal dialysis for about three and a half weeks. until she subsequently died. >> it's a story the doctor told over and over again. i wanted to meet the family, but the doctor didn't answer my repeated calls. but he told "the chicago tribune" he never treated this child. and fire officials say the fire and death had nothing to do with flame retardants. >> he, unfortunately, got it in his mind that the flame retardant chemicals in furniture were a good idea. >> he told "the tribune" that citizens for fire safety paid for his travel and some of his testimony time. >> a burn surgeon took many to make claims about something that not only was not true, but potentially harmful if not deadly. >> right, i was there at the senate hearing in the california state senate. he portrayed taking care of an infant that was burned in
alaska. >> 7-week-old baby was in a crib, laying on a fire retardant mattress on a nonfire retardant pillow. mom put a candle in the crib. candle fell over. the baby sustained a 50% burn. >> the mother put a candle in the infant's crib, which i thought was -- i never heard of. >> in fact, the "chicago tribune" found no case involving a candle, and the doctor said all his different stories were about the same baby. he told the paper he, quote, changed facts to protect patient privacy. i invited him on to talk about his role in citizens for fire safety and his testimony, but he declined. in september, the citizens for fire safety website was shut down, and the site now redirects people to the american chemical council's north american flame retardant alliance. that's the industry's main lobbying group.
the companies behind citizens for fire safety declined our request to come on camera, but they did provide this statement. citizens for fire safety institute advocated for strong fire safety standards in keeping with our longstanding commitment to reducing the risk of fires. our companies continue to inform policymakers, stake holders and consumers about the contribution of flame retardants to fire safety. i reached out to the american chemistry council. they also declined to come on camera but provided this statement. the flame retardants currently used like all chemicals are subject to review by government regulators all around the world and the scientific profile on each should be considered separately. efforts to hastily remove flame red tartsants in one broad stroke only demonstrate a misunderstanding of the science and could undermine public safety. i should point out the epa is currently reviewing the safety of the three flame retardant chemicals. that's in addition to the ones the company has already phased
out in 2005. the epa could force them out of production as well, but they say that review won't be finished until the end of next year. >> there's something else i want to share with you regarding fire safety. espn host hannah storm had a terrible accident in her home when this propane grill exploded. it left her with first and second degree burns on her face, neck, chest, and hands. >> then i yelled inside to my daughter who was setting the table, my 16-year-old. i said mommy is on fire. you have to call 911. >> mommy's on fire. call 911. amazing stuff. storm returns to the scene of the accident for the first time with me. that's next. yellowing. crest whitestrips whiten as well as $500 professional treatments. guaranteed. crest 3d white whitestrips.
espn "sportscenter" host hannah storm suffered severe burns as the result of a propane grill accident in early december. i was able to visit with her as she returned to the scene of the accident for the first time. >> i go out to light the grill. i'm timing my dinner. i go out to heat up the grill, right? >> heat it up, go back in, get
whatever you're going to be grilling. >> now i'm ready to throw the meat on and get dinner on the table. keep in mind, the lid was open, okay? so i turn all the gas off. >> did you smell gas? >> no, and i didn't know until now that propane is heavier than air. the propane, it hadn't lit, but the propane had gathered and pooled above the grill and below the grill. inside the bottom of the grill. i turn everything off. i turn the gas on again, very low, and i try to ignite it. and that was my mistake. immediately, it was a ball of fire. and it came right here. and then i yelled inside to my daughter who was setting the table, my 16-year-old.
i said, mommy's on fire. you have to call 911. so i came here, i turned the cold water on, and i just started doing this. and my daughter was across the room, you know, on 911, and they, of course, they're asking all these questions, and i'm trying my best to answer them. she says, mom, what are you doing? are you splashing cold water on yourself. i said, yes. she said, you have to stop. i was like, what? how can i stop. i wanted to jump in the sink. anything i could do to just relieve the pain and stop the burning process. but apparently, not knowing if it was a third degree burn or not, right, do you risk infection by doing -- by just splashing water? >> yes, anything can give you an infection. what did they tell you to do? >> i just stopped, and i just started hopping around. i couldn't -- i mean, i couldn't get anywhere. >> did they tell you to put anything else on there?
>> no, just stop and we're on our way. i knew that, you know, whatever i saw staring back at me in the mirror, that was going to be my starting point. this was all, all burned. all of this, like here. you can see that it's slow coming back. all the way around. i had some infection issues here. this was all brown and burned and discolored. i didn't think it would be career ending. if it was career ending, though, i mean, my family wouldn't love me any less. my friends wouldn't love me any less. i mean, it didn't touch anything inside. >> what makes you cry right now?
>> i think it's traumatic. i think it resets your priorities or reinforces your priorities. probably a better way of saying that. i think when your children are in a position to care for you in any way, that's very profound. i think i understand how lucky i am. and am overwhelmed by that. >> you know, being in a hurry, trying to get dinner on the table, something that i'm guilty of myself. but when it comes to grill safety, there are a few important lessons you can take away from storm's accident. only use a grill in a wide open, nonenclosed space. always open the lid first, then turn the gas on, then light the grill quickly but safely. hannah did all these things right, but there is one last important point to remember. if it goes out, if the grill goes out, wait 15 minutes before reigniting it. this is something storm admits she did not do, and she hopes
>> so, there's no third party oversight. aside from the criminal act of manipulating the food. >> let me be more specific on this. liquid and ground foods, they are the easiest to tamper with. if you look at pomegranate juice, for example, it could be mixed with grape juice or pear juice. olive oil, but it could be diluted with cheaper oils. a lot of people like to add various spikes. paprika and safron and also this, you remember this nice pictures of tuna. tuna sushi might not always be the only thing you're eating, an
oily fish that could, in fact, cause stomach problems. a lot of people ask, what can you do? i have a couple pieces of advice over here. buy whole foods whenever you can. you can squeeze, brine and grate them yourself. as our friends at cnn like to say, know the who, the when and the where of the products. don't always just simply buy into the latest health trends. food fraud occurs more common in high-value ingredients which consumers will pay a premium for. you know the old adage applies here. if that price seems too good to be true, it probably is. all right, this is pretty exciting stuff. every year people just like you submit ireports part of the triathlon challenge. right now we're ready to announce our 2013 six-pack.
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